RUMFORD — Tasked by Wednesday's court injunction to schedule a vote on Black Mountain ski resort's funding, selectmen Thursday night postponed the decision to sometime on Friday, Aug. 20.
After voting 5-0 to enter an emergency session to discuss the secret-ballot vote because it wasn't on the already-published agenda, the board couldn't decide on a venue.
At issue was whether RSU 10's Muskie Auditorium at Mountain Valley High School would be available for an early September meeting to begin at 5 p.m., or if it should be held in Rumford Falls Auditorium, which has a lower seating capacity.
To be safe, they agreed to recess Thursday night's meeting at the end of the agenda — rather than adjourn — to Friday, Aug. 20, to give Town Manager Carlo Puiia time to contact RSU 10 officials.
Knowing how many signed the Rumford ski hill's petition for a special town meeting to revote Black Mountain's request for $51,000 in funding, and that opponents could bring a like number to debate the hot issue, the board couldn't decide where it should be held.
“We had 500 people sign a petition and there may be just as many on the other side with just as much passion,” Selectman Jeff Sterling said. “I say, check with the high school on the auditorium.”
Selectman Greg Buccina urged fellow board members to schedule the meeting and all-day balloting as soon as possible, citing the ski hill's need to get a budget in place to start its winter season.
“The longer we delay this, the longer Black Mountain will be under the gun to get open,” Buccina said. “I don't think it's fair for Black Mountain or any other organization to wait while we finagle this.”
Buccina wanted the meeting held in the auditorium.
On Wednesday, Oxford County Superior Court Justice Robert Clifford granted the injunction to bump the revote off the Aug. 27 Welfare Budget ballot and into a separate town business-meeting warrant next month.
The injunction was filed on Aug. 11 by five men who believed that selectmen violated the Town Charter by allowing a revote on a petition-initiated article.
A majority of voters at the annual town meeting in June did not raise money for welfare or Black Mountain, prompting petitions by the ski hill to bypass the selectmen's decision not to put Black Mountain's revote before special town meeting voters.